Dinty Moore’s New Downtown Eatery Opened in Feb. 1947

On February 23, 1947, a full page ad in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle was dedicated to a newly organized business in town, Dinty Moore's Restaurant. The eatery had been around for several years with essentially the same name but at four separate downtown locations.

The first one, known as Dinty Moore Cafe, was at 249 E. Main Street about 1935s. Last July, the Johnson City Press reported that the old cafe sign was uncovered when workers were remodeling the second floor facade. The managers were Olin O. Point and W. Jack Moore. Older residents will likely recall The Chocolate Bar that resided in that same site in the 1940s.

First Dinty Moore Cafe Sign from about 1935 Uncovered in Summer 2014

The second Dinty Moore Cafe, managed by J.R. Moore, was at 236 E. Main in the early 1940s, that location having been in prior years the site of the Edisonian, Criterion and State movie theatres. Sandy Green, who helped me compose an article about Christiansen's Cafe in Aug. 2012, told me that about 1942 the new restaurant acquired the property vacated by Dinty Moore's Cafe.

The third restaurant was located at 115 E. Market, managed by Pinckney Moore and later Hunter R. Moore. It acquired a name change from “Cafe” to “Restaurant.”

The establishment was sandwiched between Quality Bakery on the west side, Gregg Electric Co. on the east and directly across the street from the rear entrance of Betty Gay Shop, a fashionable ladies' clothing store.

Other names that were associated with the establishment included Raymond Moore, P.R. Moore, Lena R. Moore and Lela O. Moore.

The Press-Chronicle February ad stated: “Opens Monday, Feb. 24, 1947. Open Daily and Sunday. Regular Dinners and Short Orders. Featuring Cleanliness and Courtesy.”

“Congratulations to Dinty Moore. Sure! He'll Serve Enriched Honey-Krust.”

“The Hackney Co., Inc., 101 N. Roan Street, extends congratulations to Dinty Moore and his organization on the day their formal opening.”

“Best Wishes to Dinty Moore and his modern restaurant. We are proud of the job we have completed on your building: Electrical, Ventilation. Gregg Electric Co., 117 E. Market.”

“Congratulations Dinty. We wish you every good thing in your business venture and we are sure your customers and employees will enjoy your Kentile floor installed by E.N. Campbell Co., 303 W. Walnut, Phone 715.”

“Best Wishes, Dinty. Here's wishing you lots of good luck and success in your new restaurant. The Little Store Super Market (112-14 W. Market, Thomas Deaderick, manager).”

“Congratulations Dinty Moore. We feel that your new restaurant is a definite asset to our town and wish you much success. Whitlow Sign Co. (Joe B. Whitlow), Neon Manufacturing Sales and Service, 108 Tipton Street.”

“Marshall Brothers Lumber Co. (Carl L. and Olin R. Marshall) wishes to express sincere wishes of assured success to the new and modern Dinty Moore's Restaurant. We are proud to have had a part in its construction.”

“Best wishes Dinty Moore's Restaurant for a most prosperous business. The perfection of an-all gas equipped, most modern kitchen makes prosperity evident through satisfied customers. Watauga Valley Gas Company (329 E. Main, Howard W. Gee, phones 260 and 1349).”

“Congratulations to the new Dinty Moore's Restaurant, 115 W. Market. The new, modern equipment and fixture furnished by Scruggs Equipment Co., Inc., Scruggs Building, Broadway at Jackson, Knoxville, Tennessee, Local Representative, W.D. Chadwick, Johnson City, Tenn.”

The restaurant made one final relocation about 1961 when it moved up the street to the more spacious 121-23 E. Market site. It was a bit more upscale than most of the downtown restaurants of that era.

Dinty Moore's unusual slogan was “Dinty Moore's No Better Than The Best, But Better Than The Rest.” If you recall the downtown diner, drop me a line.